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posted by mrpg on Thursday June 10 2021, @10:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the that-explains-mine dept.

A link between childhood stress and early molars:

"I've long been concerned that if kids grow up too fast, their brains will mature too fast and will lose plasticity at an earlier age. Then they'll go into school and have trouble learning at the same rate as their peers," says Mackey, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Penn. "Of course, not every kid who experiences stress or [is] low income will show this pattern of accelerated development."

What would help, she thought, was a scalable, objective way -- a physical manifestation, of sorts -- to indicate how children embodied and responded to stresses in their world. Eruption timing of the first permanent molars proved to be just that.

In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Mackey, with doctoral student Cassidy McDermott and colleagues from Penn's School of Dental Medicine and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, shows that children from lower-income backgrounds and those who go through greater adverse childhood experiences get their first permanent molars earlier. The findings, generated initially from a small study and replicated using a nationally representative dataset, align with a broader pattern of accelerated development often seen under conditions of early-life stress.

Journal Reference:
Cassidy L. McDermott, Katherine Hilton, Anne T. Park, et al. Early life stress is associated with earlier emergence of permanent molars [open], Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2105304118)

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by helel on Thursday June 10 2021, @01:25PM (7 children)

    by helel (2949) on Thursday June 10 2021, @01:25PM (#1143870)

    It's well proven that old people retain brain "plasticity" as younger individuals provided they exercise this ability.

    Yes, that's why it's just as easy to pick up a new language at 30 as at 3, amiright? It's well proven that brain plasticity reduces with age. Whether or not it's a factor in children who have suffered high stress performing worse in school is another question.

    I must confess tho, there's a delicious ironing in someone claiming "Do you know what is the difference between the smart and the dumb? The latter stop wondering and are happy with what they have and what they know." while at the same time proving themselves happy with what they already know and upset by new information...

    Republican Patriotism []
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  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by choose another one on Thursday June 10 2021, @01:43PM (3 children)

    by choose another one (515) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 10 2021, @01:43PM (#1143878)

    Wow, "ironing is delicious" - learn something new every day! Looks like my brain is still plastic - probably what all the white bits are on the scans...

    Might have to try some ironing later - if I can actually even stand on the gout-ridden ankle by then. As for the OPs "it's hard to run" - yeah, no shit sherlock, just being able to walk would be nice right now, but I can damn well still think because here I am...

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday June 10 2021, @04:19PM (1 child)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 10 2021, @04:19PM (#1143920) Homepage Journal

      if I can actually even stand on the gout-ridden ankle by then.

      A nice plastic mind might think to shorten the ironing board, and set it up in front of a chair, so that the gouty ankle doesn't have to bear any weight while ironing. Or, get one of those tall stools that you see at work stations all over the world. That way, you can grab all your clothes that you intend to iron, lay them within reach, lay the clothes hangars within reach, then iron all day with no pain. Be sure you've set your ironing board up within reach of something to hang your freshly ironed clothes on.

      We all have our problems, you know. One of those problems is adapting to life as we age. So, who is smarter, you or the ironing board?

      FWIW, I haven't ironed anything in decades. Dear Wife maybe irons a half dozen items a month. What's the point when we have all these wrinkle-free wash and dry fabrics? Take your clothes out of the dryer a little sooner, hang them up while they are still every-so-slightly damp. It saves a lot of work!

      There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Thursday June 10 2021, @07:13PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday June 10 2021, @07:13PM (#1144013) Journal

      Losing "plasticity", by definition, is a reduction in the rate of change that the brain can sustain.

      Losing plasticity = learning slower is a TAUTOLOGY.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 10 2021, @03:53PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 10 2021, @03:53PM (#1143913)

    Yes, that's why it's just as easy to pick up a new language at 30 as at 3, amiright?

    It's easier. You just have to work at it instead of avoiding it. It takes years for a baby to learn to understand and talk. As a 10 year old, you can learn another language functionally in 6 months for something not completely foreign (eg. similar alphabet). As an adult, the same. []

    How many hours do you think that 3 year old spends learning new language? Even only in school, that's 6-8h a day full immersion? That's 2000 hours in a year. As an adult, you should be able to learn Chinese in that time!

    It's rather amusing you talk to me about language as I'm right now living a foreign nation to me, learning the language. Yeah, I've also learned functional english as a 10 year old in 6 months. People that struggle to acquire a language never practice it and never actually work at it. And then they point to kids, like they don't have to work at it. How do you think I could answer questions on a test? Yeah, used a fucking dictionary for every word. Then after looking up same word for 20th time, I remembered it. And on and on. But to adults, yeah, kids just 'absorb it', it's 'easy'.

    Also, like learning basic piano - not easy. Your brain needs to create new pathways. You have to play until the fingers start to work. Hours and hours. But if you watch from outside, yeah, magically absorbed...

    Do the work. Get results.

    while at the same time proving themselves happy with what they already know and upset by new information...

    I'm upset that they reduce a complex mechanism, like the brain, to counting fucking teeth. It's not better than Nazi measuring heads to determine if you are 'Aryan enough' with similar results. I know people that have turned their life around by learning to use their brains, maybe first time in their lives, later in life. And others that wasted their gifts by atrophying what they had.

    Whenever someone tells me that someone is old so they can't learn something easily. It's like telling a 50 year old person to give up, they surely cannot take up crazy sports like running later in life. Both are BS. When you work at it, you get results. Period (sure, maybe not everyone can be #1, but you sure don't have to be in the 2nd half -- most people are fucking lazy and it's easy to be in the lead even with any disadvantages you may have). But, if you are not willing to do the work, then just blame everyone else for your failure or maybe your early teeth.

    • (Score: 2) by helel on Thursday June 10 2021, @11:15PM

      by helel (2949) on Thursday June 10 2021, @11:15PM (#1144117)

      How many times did you need to look words up in the dictionary when learning your native tongue? I'll bet it was a heck of a lot less than 20!

      Joking aside, the research disagrees with you. The ability to memorize vocabulary (the aspect of language acquisition you discuss) remains fairly consistent into adulthood. By contrast the ability to master grammar and correctly vocalize are seen to decrease with age. Take the common multi-generational immigrant family. It's quite common that the children who began the local language before age 10 can speak without any accent at all while adults in the family may understand just as well but retain a strong accent for decades or even the rest of their life. That's neural plasticity at work. It takes longer for the adults to rewire their brains.

      Like I said in my first post, whether or not any of this is relevant to children in school is questionable. This study certainly doesn't settle the matter. However, the fact that these researchers are studying the matter doesn't mean all previous research is suddenly null and void.

      Republican Patriotism []
  • (Score: 2) by unauthorized on Friday June 11 2021, @03:52PM

    by unauthorized (3776) on Friday June 11 2021, @03:52PM (#1144269)

    It's "easy" to pick up a new language at 3 because you're constantly immersed in it, you don't really have an old language to fall back, people won't give you weird looks when you experiment with words and you have a fuckton of free time with nothing better to do. The reason it's harder to learn a language at 30 is because you have a job to do, family to spend time with, dog to walk, friends to hang out with, video games to play, workout routine to keep up with and so forth.